Compared to the other issues of Yi Soon Shin this issue is light on the action. It makes up for it with some major story twists, most I won’t be able to cover without spoiling so I just won’t cover them. The issue begins with a pretty big reveal that I’m going to go ahead and spoil since its only two pages in. Jin is running; running from her demons it seems as she sees the dead body of Injung the woman she killed to protect her secret and because Baron Seo commanded her to. As she battles with this demon she confesses to the murder out loud. That’s a problem for her since Yi is standing there and hears every word. What’s worse is that Lt. Song was on his way to meet Jin and also heard every word. Song, who has loved her through some nasty shit almost instantly, calls her a whore and a murderer. Hard to blame him really when you find out the woman you love that you know is sleeping with other men then killed the love of your best friend’s life at the command of his mortal enemy. Jin in arrested because Yi isn’t about to let emotions dictate the situation.
The story then checks in with Baron Seo who is trading a young boy and a young girl to Yun Dusu the Chief Advisor to the King. It’s not quite clear what their arrangement is yet, but it involves Yi for sure. Now Won Kyun has been a major pain in the ass. He said he’d go to the King and confess his crimes that Yi was being blamed for, but now that he’s in front of the King he double crosses Yi and asks for the King to give him Yi’s position in command of the entire Navy. Here’s where the deal with Yun Dusu comes into play as he basically confirms Kyun’s bullshit as fact and makes the King worry that Yi is trying to take the throne. The King then of course wants Yi because that’s a better thing to focus on instead of the Japanese invasion happening right on your shores… looks like the Baron’s plan worked.
It probably seems like I covered a lot, but that was only about six pages. Yeah, the plot is packed on this issue and that’s a good thing. There is a lot of dialogue to cover, but because the plot is being affected so much it’s really enjoyable and moves at a steady pace. This isn’t a bunch of exposition masked as dialogue.
Onrie Kompan makes sure that every issue has a recap which is fantastic! Seriously his recaps are spot on and even make it so that you could pick up this second issue as your first. Granted you’d be behind, but you wouldn’t be lost as names like Yun Dusu are given their own caption box including the job title. Believe or not, but that’s very helpful when you have a cast of characters as large as this series does. I’ve read many series that never recap the character names and it makes trying to talk about it and share with others difficult, especially when you read a lot of comics.
Where Kompan has succeeded is in telling a historical story, but keeping it interesting. It does appear that he’s staying as close to the historical facts as possible (I don’t know the history myself so I can’t say), but rather than falling in the trap of all historical stories he manages to find the right story beats to make this tale interesting and really hold your attention.
This issue welcomes El Arnakleus to the book taking over for Giovanni Timpano. Arnakleus fits right in with the story and upholds the style and detail that Timpano started the series with. Not to be “that guy”, but I think I ended up liking Arnakleus’ artwork more. The characters remain photorealistic and recognizable from the last issue. The opening page was a nice showcase of skills and is really creepy looking. This style is repeated in a bigger and bolder way later so if you like it, expect more. I didn’t personally find it that shocking, but I can see the faint of heart being blown away by how crazy it gets.
If you enjoyed the first volume of Yi Soon Shin then really there’s no reason not to be following this second volume. The next issue is going to be a big one, but for my money the plot and world have never been more affected than it has been with this issue.
Writer: Onrie Kompan Artist: El Arnakleus Price: $2.99 Website